DSHS Report: COVID Vaccines Dramatically Prevent Infection and Deaths
By Sean Price

Texas physicians have strongly encouraged patients to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and a new report from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has confirmed why that advice is sound. 

As of mid-January, of the nearly 29,000 Texans who have died from COVID-19-related illnesses, less than 8% were fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the study, COVID-19 Cases and Deaths by Vaccination Status

“Vaccination had a strong protective effect on infections and deaths among people of all ages,” authors wrote. 

The study covered the period from Jan. 15, 2021 – the first day a Texan could be fully vaccinated – through Oct. 1, the most recent date with complete vaccination data, DSHS says. The agency based its findings on data from ImmTrac2, the state’s vaccine registry; death statistics; and COVID-19 electronic laboratory reporting

DSHS focused mainly on people who were fully vaccinated compared with those who were unvaccinated. 

The study found unvaccinated people were 13 times more likely to become infected with COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people. Also, unvaccinated people were 20 times more likely to experience COVID-19-associated death than fully vaccinated people. 

Among the roughly 1.5 million people with positive COVID-19 tests, 1.3 million (85%) were unvaccinated, 184,732 (12%) were partially vaccinated, and 46,321 (3%) were fully vaccinated, the report says. 

Meanwhile, of the 28,659 people who died from a COVID-19-associated infection, 85.5% were unvaccinated, 6.8% were partially vaccinated, and 7.7% were fully vaccinated. 

DSHS also found COVID-19 vaccines consistently protected against infection across all adult age groups and protected those 12 to 17 years old to a greater degree than other age groups. (Children aged 5 to 11 were not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination at the time of the report.)

The protective impact vaccines had on COVID-19 deaths was more varied, according to the report. For instance, in September, unvaccinated people in their 40s were 55 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared with fully vaccinated people of the same age. Meanwhile, unvaccinated people aged 75 years and older were 12 times more likely to die than their vaccinated counterparts. 

The report also confirmed that the delta variant is more dangerous than previous COVID-19 variants. 

“Regardless of vaccination status, people in Texas were four to five times more likely to become infected with COVID-19 or suffer a COVID-19-associated death while the delta variant was prevalent in Texas (August 2021) compared with a period before the delta variant became prevalent (April 2021),” DSHS wrote. 

Report authors did acknowledge, however, that because no vaccines are 100% effective, “it is expected that some fully vaccinated people will get sick with COVID-19, and that number will increase as more people get vaccinated. Vaccine effectiveness can also be affected by an individual’s own immune system, like how well they respond to the vaccine when it is given and how much their immunity wanes over time.” 

Check the TMA COVID-19 Resource Center regularly for up-to-date news and the latest TMA materials on how to help patients prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Last Updated On

November 16, 2021

Originally Published On

November 16, 2021

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Sean Price


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Sean Price is a reporter for Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. He grew up in Fort Worth and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He's worked as an award-winning writer and editor for a variety of national magazine, book, and website publishers in New York and Washington. He's also helped produce Texas-based marketing campaigns designed to promote public health. Sean lives in Austin and enjoys hiking, photography, and spending time with his wife and two sons.

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